3 ways churches are blessing the community this Chinese New Year
by Gracia Lee // February 7, 2024, 11:11 am
“We wanted everyone, especially those far from God, to come to the table and know that they have a seat at the table," said Pastor Norman Ng from 3:16 Church, which hosted a family meal this Chinese New Year. Photo courtesy of 3:16 Church.
Chinese New Year is an opportunity to bless our friends and family, and some churches are going the extra mile to extend love to those in the community.
Salt&Light spoke to four churches to find out what they have planned and their heart behind these initiatives.
1. A musical treat topped with warm hospitality
After members of the Queenstown community attended a concert organised by Church of Our Saviour during Mid-Autumn Festival last year, some went home telling their spouses that they should have attended the event, while others came back to the church for worship services.
“It was a runaway hit and even the non-Christians now want to visit church without us asking them,” Senior Pastor Daniel Wee told Salt&Light.
On February 22 and 23, the church will be hosting another special concert for the community to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Named Springtime in Queenstown, the event will see musical performances by the Asian Cultural Symphony Orchestra, as well as by homegrown Mandarin singer-songwriter Matthew Tan, who will also be sharing his testimony.
“We figured that after they have stepped into our church for the first time, we have dispelled any fears, uncertainties or misunderstandings that they might have of the church and would be far more willing to come when we invite them for other events,” said Pastor Daniel.
“Additionally, the hospitality they experience at these events itself speaks of what the church is within the community – like preaching without words.”
Tickets for Springtime at Queenstown are priced at $15 and can be purchased online here.
2. A family meal where all are welcome
With a desire for all to experience the heart of the Father, 3:16 Church hosted a “family” meal on February 5 with the theme 回家吃饭 (Come home for a meal).
“Our purpose and heart is for everyone to know what God’s family feels like. As a movement of home churches, we find that this is best done around a table where people are seen and heard and known and loved,” said Senior Pastor Norman Ng.
He added that they also wanted to invite those who do not have a reunion dinner to join them for a meal.
Some 80 guests of all ages, including church members, family, friends and pre-believers, gathered at event space City On A Hill at King Albert Park Mall, where they tossed lo hei, ate dinner, played games, fellowshipped and heard a Gospel message based on the Chinese word 福.
“We wanted everyone, especially those far from God, to come to the table and know that they have a seat at the table. We want them to know that when they are not at the table, they will be missed,” said Pastor Norman, adding that Jesus modelled such hospitality.
During the dinner, Pastor Ian Toh, the church’s founding pastor, also rolled up his sleeves to peel cereal prawns for everyone, as he knew that many did not enjoy doing so.
Said Pastor Norman: “That made many, including the guests, feel loved and at home!”
3. Gifts of blessings for long-time neighbours
Every Chinese New Year for the past 20 years, members of Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church cross the street from their main church premise in Telok Ayer with Mandarin oranges and Gospel tracts for the hawkers at Amoy Street Food Centre.
“Our church members, especially the pastoral staff workers, are quite familiar with the hawkers because they often patronise their stalls. Some of the hawkers have even come to our church for worship service,” said church member Chong Soo Fern.
This year will be no different. On February 16, church members will visit the hawkers once again to distribute Mandarin oranges. “We want to be a blessing to them,” she said.
Similarly, church members of Agape Baptist Church will be continuing their tradition of visiting the elderly living in Pek Kio, the neighbourhood they have been reaching out to for the past 20 years, with snacks and angpows (red packets).
Said coordinator of the initiative, Wee Sok Hwee: “It is our way of honouring the elderly living in these one-room rental units, and bringing them God’s blessings of peace, joy and hope this festive season.”
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